Turkish prosecutors release policeman who ran over, killed boy with armored vehicle in SE Turkey

Turkish prosecutors have released a police officer who ran over and killed a seven-year-old child with an armored vehicle in the southeastern province of Şırnak's İdil district. The HDP said that the incident was the result of “a policy of impunity” granted to security forces by the current rulership and cannot be merely named as “accident,” but is rather a “massacre.”

Mihraç Miroğlu was hit by an armored police vehicle on Sept. 3 in the southeastern province of Şırnak's İdil district.

Duvar English

Turkish authorities have released a police officer after he hit and killed a seven-year-old child with an armored vehicle in the southeastern province of Şırnak's İdil district on Sept. 3, Mezopotamya news agency reported on Sept. 6.

The İdil Prosecutor's Office launched an investigation into the incident under the name of “accident involving death.”

Despite killing the child, the relevant police officer has not been detained for three days after the incident. It was only on Sept. 6 that Turkish prosecutors summoned the police officer for his testimony.

The police officer in question was transferred to the İdil courthouse under police escort and released after giving his testimony.

In his testimony, contrary to eyewitness statements, the police officer claimed that he was not speeding when he hit the child. “I did not do it on purpose; I would not have wanted the incident to have resulted in this way,” he reportedly said.

A copy of the investigation file was sent to the Forensic Medicine Institute Traffic Department to determine the degree of the policeman's fault in the boy's death.

The seven-year-old Mihraç Miroğlu was killed on Sept. 3 as he was riding his bike. Miroğlu's family said that armored police vehicles were moving very fast when they were patrolling the streets at the time.

The Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) later released a statement on its social media account, saying the deaths caused by security forces cannot be named as mere “accident,” but are “massacre.” “How many times have children, women, old people been massacred? Enough already!” said the HDP.

HDP co-chair Pervin Buldan said that the incident was the result of “a policy of impunity” granted to security forces by the current rulership.

“The rulership's policies of impunity has taken the life of a one more seven-year-old child playing on the street. These deaths that occur in city centers, living spaces are never accidents, but murder. Those who are responsible must be prosecuted,” Buldan wrote on Twitter, sharing the widely circulated hashtag of #MihraçMiroğlu, referring to the killed boy's name.

HDP MP Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu has taken the boy's death to the agenda of parliament, asking Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu in a parliamentary question if the police riding the relevant armored vehicle were still on their duty.

“Has there an investigation been launched into the police officer riding the vehicle? Is the police officer still on duty?” Gergerlioğlu asked.

The HDP MP also asked why it is mostly in Kurdish-majority provinces that such deaths by armored police vehicles occur. He inquired about the number of citizens who lost their lives after being hit by armored vehicles in the last 10 years with a breakdown of their provinces and also how many of those relevant police officers were still on duty.

“This and such deaths are unfortunately not a first. We do not see such incidents as a mere accident. The main reason is the rulership's policies and security-based implementations that it has been running in Kurdish cities,” Gergerlioğlu said.

An official statement has been yet released with regards to the boy's death.

Fourteen bar associations from southeastern Turkey released a joint statement in condemnation of the boy's death, calling for an "unbiased and effective investigation" into the incident.

Saying that such deaths should not be "normalized," the bar associations demanded that the Parliamentary Commission for Investigating Human Rights establish a sub-commission for the investigation of deaths caused by armored vehicles. 

According to a report prepared by the Diyarbakır branch of the Human Rights Association (İHD), armored vehicles caused the death of 36 people -- including 16 children and six women -- in a total of 63 accidents in the last 10 years. Also, 85 people were injured in these incidents.

Citing the İHD's data, main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) lawmaker Sezgin Tanrıkulu said on Sept. 6 that 37 children have been so far killed as a result of being hit by armored vehicles in southeastern Turkey. 

"A total of 37 children have lost their lives in Diyarbakır, Şırnak, Van, Mardin as a result of being hit by armored vehicles. I would never forget the incident in [Şırnak's] Silopi. An armored vehicle ran over two children sleeping in their bed. Those who did it have never received a punishment," Tanrıkulu told MST TV, saying such actions of impunity "lead to other problems." 

In remarks addressing the Turkish judiciary, Tanrıkulu said: "At least show that you are running an effective investigation." 

In 2017, an armored police vehicle crashed into a house in Şırnak's Silopi district, causing the death of two children while they were sleeping.